Man who tried to kill George Zimmerman sentenced to 20 years

Matthew Apperson found guilty of attempted 2nd-degree murder

SANFORD, Fla. – A judge on Monday sentenced Matthew Apperson to 20 years in prison in the attempted murder of George Zimmerman during a road-rage incident in Seminole County.

Apperson's attorney requested that his client be released on bond while he awaits the outcome of an appeal.

A jury last month found Matthew Apperson, 37, guilty of attempted second-degree murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle and aggravated assault.

In the May 2015 encounter, Apperson testified that he acted in self-defense because Zimmerman flashed a gun. Zimmerman testified that he had been pursued by Apperson’s vehicle and that the driver of the vehicle opened fire but missed him.

Last year's confrontation was not the first encounter between Apperson and Zimmerman. Apperson alleged in September 2014 that Zimmerman threatened him in a road-rage encounter but did not press charges at the time.

Apperson faced a minimum mandatory 20-year sentence on the attempted second-degree murder charge.

Zimmerman was acquitted three years ago in the deadly shooting of Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old. The case sparked protests and a national debate about race relations.

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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.